The Zika virus is an epidemic that affects practically all countries in Latin America. The obvious risk to public health has activated the yellow alert in several areas served by Ayuda en Acción.

Repel Bite, ESTEVE's brand of insect repellents, collaborates with Ayuda en Acción to conduct prevention and awareness-raising workshops at their working areas in El Salvador and Colombia to reduce the spread of diseases transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

More than 15,000 suspected cases of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus have been detected in El Salvador, and more than 70,000 cases of Zika have been detected in Colombia.

Children are informed on the fight against ZICA at www.brigadarepel.org and by the Antimosquito Repel Brigade made up of mascots Wedu and Abejonejo.

The first major Zika virus outbreak occurred in Brazil in 2015, with particularly serious consequences in newborns. Since May 7 of that year (although retrospective analysis indicates cases in this country as of late 2014), the Zika virus has expanded its reach across 42 countries of Latin America.

The presence of high populations of the "Aedes" mosquito -very well adapted to urban areas-, the high mobility of people and the lack of natural immunity against an unknown pathogen created a perfect breeding ground in this continent.

While no Zika cases have been detected so far in the Ayuda en Acción development areas in Colombia and El Salvador, the risk to public health caused by this epidemic in both countries has activated the yellow alert. Ayuda en Acción has initiated this new line of work for the prevention of the Zika virus, in addition to the action already taken in connection with the dengue and chikungunya diseases, transmitted by the same mosquito.

Repel Bite has joined in to support this work by collaborating with Ayuda en Acción in the prevention and awareness-raising workshops in Colombia and El Salvador. The main purpose of this campaign is to reduce the spread of these diseases and their impact on children and affected municipalities by strengthening population and institutional knowledge, practices and responsible behaviors in the field of prevention.

These actions aim at improving the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the educational community regarding the prevention of Zika, dengue and chikungunya, as well as the responsiveness, vigilance and control of local and community actors by implementing the following preventive actions:

(Primary and secondary school) educational activities about the Aedes aegypti mosquito, its reproductive cycle and the diseases they transmit.

Preparation of educational and play materials to raise collective awareness.
Educational activities on clean courtyard strategies, the 3R's (reduce, recycle and reuse), and the management of stored water.

Formation of School Protection Committees to devise strategies for preventing Zika, chikungunya and dengue.

Strengthening the school protection plan by means of mitigation measures.
Implementing workshops on solid residue handling in school facilities.

Educational events on the prevention of Zika and other diseases (festivals, competitions, stage acting, murals)Cleaning and vector control campaigns in and around school facilities.

Child and adult educational campaign to raise awareness on diseases caused by mosquitoes.
Training local and community actors to improve responsiveness, vigilance and vector control.

This collaboration led Ayuda en Acción and Repel Bite to form the Repel Brigade, made up of their respective mascots Wedu and Abejonejo.

The website www.brigadarepel.org is aimed at children and uses play and educational materials to explain how the same objective brought Ayuda en Acción and Repel Bite together, what the Zika virus disease is about, and what the transmission risks and the prevention options are.

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